OPAL

Information and Advice for Adults in East Dunbartonshire

Month: February 2017

Targeting the Digital generation with alternative routes to OPAL

“More than just a telephone helpline..”

The OPAL team pride themselves on just how accessible the service is. As OPAL is now open to all adult (16+) residents in East Dunbartonshire, we feel it’s important to offer as many routes into the service as possible. You can now contact us by telephone, email, by enquiring on the OPAL website or by contacting us on social media. It is hoped that we can reach younger audiences who spend more time in the digital world through these methods, but worth mentioning that enquiries from a range of ages come through all of our contact routes.

Below are some examples of how OPAL has supported young people recently, all being cases where the contact in the first instance has not been by phone call.

Supporting a younger person with a upcoming PIP Assessment

Supporting a younger person with a Benefits Check

Supporting a younger person with Carers Support

Supporting a younger person find Volunteering Opportunities

Supporting a younger person to find Volunteering Opportunities

“I attend university three days per week and thought it would be worthwhile giving some spare time back to my local community. I currently have a number of health conditions that would make some volunteering duties difficult, so I phoned OPAL to see if they knew if much was available to me.

My OPAL Adviser referred me on to EDVA, a local organisation who oversees the development of charities across East Dunbartonshire.

I spoke with Scott at EDVA who mentioned the befriending scheme and that I would be eligible for the Saltire Awards as I am younger than the age of 25. It was also great to know that I could still volunteer in my local community even with my particular health conditions.

I now spend a couple of hours a week chatting on the phone and visiting people in my local area who enjoy the company. I am always excited to meet new people and it’s very rewarding when the people are just as enthusiastic to see me. I am currently working towards my ‘Approach’ award, the second stage of the Saltire Awards.”

Supporting a younger person with Carer’s Support

“As a young carer, it was all getting a bit much for me and it can often go that way. I was referred onto OPAL’s social media pages by a friend who had seen the service online. The OPAL Facebook page had examples of how it has supported people before and I could relate to some of the case examples, so I sent a message with some contact details to see if they could help.

An OPAL Adviser contacted me the following day and it was nice to chat with somebody who really understood my situation and explained who was best for me to talk to in regards of support organisations.

My Adviser put me in contact with a support worker at Carers Link. I now attend carer support days and am part of a online community where people in similar situations to myself can come to discuss little things like their day and what they’ve been up to. I have also recently secured some funding from Carers Link for short a break which I intend to use for a family day out to Edinburgh”

Supporting a younger person with a Benefits Check

“I emailed OPAL to find out if extra support was available for me. I get by ok at the minute but now I’m going back to college and have a particular health condition that makes this process difficult, I contacted OPAL in hope of discovering if there was anything available to me that I am not aware of.

My OPAL Adviser discussed what services it would be worth contacting and helped me with this process. I got an appointment at my local CAB office who mentioned it may be worthwhile doing an income maximisation check. The result was good and in simple terms, I was happy to discover that I was eligible for more money than I was receiving before. This has certainly helped with transport back and forth to the college, which was the main obstacle for me. Now I can attend all of my college classes but I’m honestly just happy to be out of the house again.”

Supporting a younger person with an upcoming PIP Assessment

“I contacted OPAL when I needed information about my upcoming PIP Assessment as it was a process that I knew absolutely nothing about. I filled in the contact form on the OPAL website and an OPAL Adviser got back to me to talk it through. We discussed exactly this PIP assessment consisted of and I agreed to be referred on to Ceartas for advocacy support in this situation.

As well as going with me to the assessment, my advocacy worker met with me beforehand to discuss what to expect and helped me prepare. We discussed the criteria reviewed and the type of questions that would be asked at the assessment to determine just how able I was, which included questions like: ‘ how able am I to walk a certain distance’, or ‘am I able to prepare a meal.’ This helped me maximise my chances of getting the correct support and benefits as it gave the assessor a clear understanding of my needs, which proved successful when it came to the decision.”

‘A picture paints a thousand words’

Following the successful AGM of OPAL partner Ceartas which featured the photo exhibition ‘Ceartas: a year in the life’ by Brian Carroll (more info here), the OPAL Team has been granted access to over 400 photos from the project to use for our own marketing materials and social media. These images include local area photos, photos of partner organisations and images of individuals who have accessed services in East Dunbartonshire, who have in many cases been signposted on to by OPAL.

So thank you to Ceartas & Brian Carroll for giving us free rein over the remaining images – keep an eye out on our social media to see what we do with them.

Have you seen our poster in East Dunbartonshire?..

Whether it’s visiting GP Surgeries or local community groups, attending events or distributing materials, raising awareness of the service is high on the list of priorities for the OPAL Team.

Keep an eye out for the newest edition of the OPAL poster in town centres across East Dunbartonshire.

Banks face mental health challenge (BBC News)

‘Banks must offer basic account options, as given to other vulnerable people, to assist those struggling with mental health conditions, a think tank says.’

You can read the full article here.

 

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